Hell is a trendy St. Paul bar

Khakied males swarmed the female partygoers yelling and spanking themselves.

Mat Koehler

Some friends and I decided to go to one of those trendy bars last weekend. There’s a cover charge for prerecorded music, outrageously overpriced beverages and a fun name like the Wild Onion. Oh, that really is a bar? My bad. These bars also have heavily enforced dress codes for gentlemen (who make up 95 percent of the customers), a non-issue because they all dress the same. I still can’t believe the trend nowadays is white or light-pink dress shirts with popped collars and pink ties. My repulsion is not because of pink’s effeminate nature – it’s just that when I imagine guys dressed like this, I imagine frats and the Carlson School of Management, and God knows I hate both.

When I was dragged to this particular trendy bar, I wore jeans, a black hooded sweat shirt and a backward hat. Nobody ever told me that, in the crowd of posh poseurs, I’d look and feel like a slobbering Rottweiler crashing a Poodle-only party.

“Where is your friend from?” I imagined a server asking my pals. “Is he goth or something?”

When we found a table at the back of the place, we ordered expensive crappy beer and a nacho-plate priced more than a meal at a steakhouse. A rowdy bachelorette party was in full swing, complete with sex toy gag gifts and a bride-to-be drunker than Jenna Bush on a weekday afternoon. She was that drunk.

Soon the place was filling up. Spiky-haired young men pranced around with cocktails and perverted old men eagerly stood at dance floor’s edge. Techno music (which included a version of the song “Barbie Girl”) was pumping while I sat embittered. When the overenthusiastic crowd of khakied males swarmed the female partygoers at the adjacent table, yelling things like “You know it!” while spanking themselves, I almost exploded in distress. I wanted to stand up and shout, “My God, you should be ashamed of yourselves! Have you no dignity? You all look alike, you’re dancing to generic, electronic rhythms and going after girls with fewer brain cells than the glitter flakes on their faces!”

But before I could protest, my friends jumped up and joined the boisterous bevy. What’s more, a pink-tied employee came up to me, seemingly startled by my attire, and asked that I please turn my baseball cap around. The irony of the situation was startling. There I was, in a sea of homogenized hogs (many of whom had crooked hats, which was apparently allowed) as a meathead worker wearing pastels tried to make me conform to acceptable dress code “norms.” I asked him if he was serious, and when he confirmed, I just left my hat backward and thanked him for letting me know. Although it wasn’t that great of a protest, I felt proud and rebellious with my hat’s assertive bill facing the opposite way. Just then, my friends caught light of the situation. “Mat,” they whispered loudly. “What the hell are you doing? You’re gonna get kicked out of here!”

“I know,” I said, picturing the way James Dean would have said this. “And I don’t care.”

With that, my friends forced my hat forward. “What are you talking about?” they prodded. “This place is awesome!”

I stayed another hour or so, conceding my displeasure so I could get a ride back. I came to a tremendous epiphany. I’m just a sore-ass, party-pooping complainer, and it’s a wonder my friends put up with me. Look for me at the clubs next week, this time all gussied up in pink. You know it!

Mat Koehler welcomes comments [email protected]